Much to my disappointment, I did not grow up with a mother interested in beauty products. While many of my friends’ mothers love mani/pedi days with their daughters or taking them shopping for new make-up, my mother loathes all of these activities. She doesn’t wear make-up. In fact, she hates it.
Her mother (my grandmother), on the other hand, is a big fan. When she was a young woman, she was trained to perform electrolysis and did so to make extra money for a long time. When my mom was little, my grandma would put her hair in curlers and make her sleep with them in. When I was young, I remember going through my grandma’s makeup bag, looking at the lipstick and pink and green tube of Maybelline mascara and wishing I could wear them too.
When I was in fifth grade, I was shopping with my mom and grandma at the mall and I came upon a bottle of nail polish called “Tootsie Roll.” It was a deep reddish brown and I wanted it so badly. My mom said no repeatedly; she didn’t think girls my age needed to wear nail polish and saw that Tootsie Roll polish as a gateway drug to bright red nails and then, naturally, bright red lipstick. It was my grandma who intervened and told her to let me get the nail polish. My mom swears it was all downhill after that.
When I was 13, I went to my grandma and asked her to pluck my eyebrows for the first time. “Tweeze,” she corrected me. “You pluck a chicken.” (I still think of this every time I hear someone say “pluck.”) But she did it. When my mom got home from work, she didn’t notice the difference. But when we told her what we’d done, she wasn’t thrilled. Again, this was another gateway drug. She may have been right, although there really was no gateway drug for me; I have been a beauty addict for as long as I can remember and no one thing hooked me.
While I still talk about beauty products with my mom and I’ve dragged her on many trips to Sephora, my grandma is definitely the one who passed the beauty gene to me. And I’ve heard a lot of totally anecdotal evidence that supports the idea that this is pretty common. Many passionate beauty junkies say their mothers couldn’t be less interested, but their grandmothers totally get it.
Have you experienced this? Do you think the beauty gene skips a generation?